The Kamloops Blazers’ 4-1 loss at home to Kelowna on Saturday night widened the gulf between the two Western Hockey League B.C. Division teams, with the Rockets now six points ahead of the Blazers.
The loss followed a 3-1 setback to the visiting Vancouver Giants on Friday night.
In both losses, Kamloops goaltender Dylan Ferguson played well under plenty of pressure. Kelowna outshot Kamloops 34-26, while Vancouver outshot Kamloops 34-27.
The Rockets held a 3-0 lead until the final second of the middle period, when Blazer Jermaine Loewen scored to pull the home team to within two goals. Kelowna goals came from Mark Liwiski, Lassi Thomson and Leif Mattson.
Even though Kamloops outshot Kelowna in the final frame, the only goal came from the Rockets’ Thomson, an empty-net maker with two seconds left in the game.
Attendance at Sandman Centre was 3,365.
The weekend losses leave the Blazers with 45 points, three points behind Seattle, which holds the second and final wildcard playoff spot. Kamloops has a game in hand. The Blazers are six points short of Kelowna, which sits in third in the B.C. Division. The Blazers have two games in hand.
Kamloops has 16 games left in the regular season, 11 of which are at home. The Blazers are next in action on Wednesday, Feb. 13, when the Victoria Royals — firmly entrenched in second place in the B.C. Division, with 57 points — visit Sandman Centre for a 7 p.m. game. Kamloops will travel to Kennewick, Wash., on Friday, Feb. 15, to play the Tri-City Americans, with the two teams returning to Sandman Centre for a 2 p.m. game on Family Day (Monday, Feb. 18).